Fox News Incorrectly Overstates and Blames Egypt’s Problems on President Mohamed Morsi

by Colonel on March 7, 2013

Today on “Your World With Neil Cavuto”, Mr. Cavuto and Fox News “National Security Analyst” KT McFarland criticized Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s “contributions”, arguing that Egypt was better off under Mubarak:

MCFARLAND: The predecessor, Mubarak, was a dictator. He was a pro-American dictator, he kept the peace, he helped us with things like al-Qaeda, but maybe he had to go. But by pushing him out the way the Administration did, with no real plan of what comes next, what have you got? Okay, Mubarak, for example, did you know the GNP growth in Egypt was 8% a year before they got rid of him? That looks pretty good, right? What’s the GNP growth in Egypt right now? It’s flat-lined.

CAVUTO: So he’s a dictator but he was our kind of dictator?

MCFARLAND: But he was actually able to have a growing economy.

MCFARLAND: Egyptians feel that the United States is very heavily invested in this Muslim Brotherhood leader. So what has this Muslim Brotherhood leader given to Egypt? Well, their economy is in shambles. They’ve gotta import all of their wheat — they’re the world’s largest importer of wheat. They don’t have foreign currency reserves to pay for that wheat. They’ve even got a plague of locusts.

So, just to review, according to Fox News:

  • Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is responsible for ending economic growth since the Egyptian Revolution began.

Despite achieving real GDP growth rates of 4.7% in 2009 and 5.1% in 2010, Egypt still maintained a 1.8% growth rate in 2011 despite political turmoil, civil unrest, and poor infrastructure. In fact, Morsi didn’t even enter office until June 3oth, 2012, or less than 7 months ago.

  • Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is “Obama’s Guy” (Fox News terminology)

Ms. McFarland incorrectly stated that the Obama Administration “pushed out” former Egyptian President Mubarak. However, he actually resigned by his on volition on February 11th, 2011.

Additionally, Ms. McFarland overstated the Administration’s support for Morsi, her basic implication being that the Obama Administration is “propping-up” a maligned President Morsi with preferential treatment previously reserved for U.S. allies such as former Egyptian President Mubarak. After her first meeting with Morsi in Cairo, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Egypt’s transition to democracy, not Morsi the President. Fox News is unwilling to acknowledge that President Obama’s approach to the Egyptian revolution has been closer to laissez-faire than puppet master:

“What’s needed right now are concrete steps that advance the rights of the Egyptian people…Ultimately the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. The United States will always be a committed partner to that future, with the Egyptian government, and with the Egyptian people.” — President Obama

  • Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is responsible for the country’s lack of wheat production.

That’s completely false. Egypt is the world’s largest importer of wheat (and have been for a while), so what does wheat importation have anything to do with economic weakness?  Furthermore, wheat importation increased less in 2008 than it did between 2009 and 2011, even declining in 2012 despite a foot-and-mouth livestock outbreak in spring 2012:

Market Year Imports Unit of Measure Growth Rate
1960 996 (1000 MT) NA
1965 2344 (1000 MT) 18.56 %
1970 2835 (1000 MT) 27.70 %
1975 3800 (1000 MT) 8.88 %
1980 5423 (1000 MT) 10.54 %
1985 6236 (1000 MT) -1.05 %
1986 7022 (1000 MT) 12.60 %
1987 7473 (1000 MT) 6.42 %
1988 7408 (1000 MT) -0.87 %
1989 7258 (1000 MT) -2.02 %
1990 5680 (1000 MT) -21.74 %
1991 5807 (1000 MT) 2.24 %
1992 6004 (1000 MT) 3.39 %
1993 5866 (1000 MT) -2.30 %
1994 5856 (1000 MT) -0.17 %
1995 5932 (1000 MT) 1.30 %
1996 6893 (1000 MT) 16.20 %
1997 7134 (1000 MT) 3.50 %
1998 7454 (1000 MT) 4.49 %
1999 5872 (1000 MT) -21.22 %
2000 6050 (1000 MT) 3.03 %
2001 6944 (1000 MT) 14.78 %
2002 6327 (1000 MT) -8.89 %
2003 7295 (1000 MT) 15.30 %
2004 8150 (1000 MT) 11.72 %
2005 7771 (1000 MT) -4.65 %
2006 7300 (1000 MT) -6.06 %
2007 7700 (1000 MT) 5.48 %
2008 9900 (1000 MT) 28.57 %
2009 10500 (1000 MT) 6.06 %
2010 10600 (1000 MT) 0.95 %
2011 11650 (1000 MT) 9.91 %
2012 9500 (1000 MT) -18.45 %

Additionally, a CME Group Report published on February 25th, 2013, stated:

Egypt’s wheat imports are sharply down this year as it endures economic and political crisis, but state and private buyers insist they still have funds to keep the nation supplied with its staple bread.

” — Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters

Instead of critically analyzing statistics and facts, Fox News often, like in this case, uses information that sounds bad but isn’t actually relevant, congruent, or applicable.

  • Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi can create a plague of locusts.

Yes, Ms. McFarland actually said this. Let this be her badge of credibility.

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